30-foot waves recorded as Storm Imogen batters south and west

Power crews were attempting to restore electricity to thousands of homes in the south and south-west after Storm Imogen’s near hurricane winds caused widespread blackouts.

Some of the worst affected areas were rural parts of Kerry and Cork with more than 1,400 homes and businesses in the Macroom area left with out electricity and about 1,000 in the Rathmore area at the counties’ border.

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ESB Networks had reports of power outages in the wake of the storm from more than two dozens locations.

At its overnight peak along the south coast, Imogen – the ninth winter Atlantic storm – was bringing hurricane force winds to Sherkin Island off Cork, the Fastnet Rock and the Kinsale gas rigs.

Waves at least 30 feet high were also recorded by Met Éireann’s weather buoys in the Atlantic.

Fastnet lighthouse recorded some of the highest winds including sustained hurricane force speeds and gusts of up to 196km/h or 121mph.

Met Éireann had forecast that westerly winds would hit average speeds of 65 to 75 km/h with gusts of 100 to 130 km/h and conditions would be strongest along the coast and on hills.

At the height of blackouts about 5,000 homes and businesses were left without power in Cork, Kerry, Limerick, Waterford and Wexford.

In Milltown in mid Kerry 250 households are without electricity this morning and there are similar outages near Killarney.

“We are hoping to get everyone back by today,” an ESB spokeswoman said.

In the aftermath of the storm road users were being warned of fallen trees and power lines while people in coastal areas were being warned of the dangers of extreme wave heights of up to 45 feet in some parts of the south coast.

Roads near Killarney were badly affected. Kenmare too saw trees down and in west Kerry the road near Dun an Oir in Ballyferriter was blocked.

The N22 main Killarney to Tralee road has re-opened, the county council said. However it is warning motorists that road conditions remain difficult this morning .

Wheelie bins remain strewn on the roads and the council is asking people to secure property.

In Limerick City, flooding has occurred at Longpavement, Condell Road, St Itas Street in St Mary's Park, Corbally Road, O'Dywer's Villas in Thomondgate, Verdant Place, O'Callaghan Strand, Clancy Strand, Merchant's Quay and George's Quay.

Three homes have been flooded at the river end of the Mill Road in Corbally.

Floodwaters have receded at most locations.

However, flooding remains an issue in Corbally and at St Munchins Street and St Mary's Park where Council staff and emergency crews remain on site.

Flooding has also occurred along the Shannon Estuary in County Limerick at Glin, Askeaton and Foynes as a result of a high tide of 5.2m accompanied by a higher than forecast storm surge of 1.5m.

In Askeaton, four homes were flooded while three private cars suffered flood damage.

The port area in Foynes experienced some flooding at High Tide (5.30am) which has since dissipated.

Additional reporting by Anne Lucey

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